Before you open up your apartment to prospective buyers, you'll want to whip it into shape. We searched through the Brick archives for everything you need to know about staging and open houses—two early and essential components of the selling process.
SETTING THE STAGE:
- Some of the common staging mistakes you'll want to avoid: Poor lighting, mismatched appliances and too many personal items on view.
- When prepping a fixer-upper, get rid of the old window treatments, switch out cabinet and door knobs, paint an accent wall and either refinish or cover up the floors.
- You'll need to stage listing photos, too. Be sure to use the same types of light bulbs throughout, hide electrical cords and don't even think about using your iPhone camera. And clean, clean, clean first (including windows).
- It's true that your apartment's walls should be as neutral as possible. Go for gray-accented whites rather than yellow ones if you're painting.
- In the bathroom, repair any cracks in the walls or ceiling, get brand new towels you reserve for open houses and invest in matching light bulbs.
- Consider investing in a storage unit to hold your clutter while your place is on the market. (sponsored)
AND NOW TO THE OPEN HOUSES:
- Time 'em right: Sundays between 11am and 1pm and 2pm and 4pm might be the best times to open your doors. And don't have the open houses run more than an hour and a half, tops.
- Get out of your apartment during showings (and take your pets with you).
- Make sure that at show time, your agent shows up early, brings neat, pre-printed sign-in sheets and information about the property (known as show sheets), and sticks around to the very end.
- The apartment "show" must go on even when the weather's not great. Just be prepared with towels and rags and ask people to leave their dirty boots at the door.
- To keep your sanity while you're showing your place, work out an open house schedule with your broker (and try not to do many last-minute showings), but also make space in bathroom and kitchen cabinets to stash things at a moment's notice.
- Who to expect at an open house: Nosy neighbors (who won't buy), tired open house veterans (who might buy) and voyeurs (who are only window shopping).
- Prospective buyers will open drawers, pull up shades and look under rugs. Be prepared for any questions/potential problems.
- Remember that how someone acts at an open house is a good indicator of how they'll act at a board interview. In other words, a jerk is a jerk.
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